China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin KwanRemember way back in the summer of 2013 when I reviewed Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan and loved it? Well, Kwan is back¬†with China Rich Girlfriend and it is just as rich and crazy as ever. It’s the perfect summer read – smart, funny and not too heavy. Continue reading

The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak

The Invaders by Karolina WaclawiakThe Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak may be the book that has most surprised me so far this summer. I went into it with absolutely no expectations and I came away deeply satisfied. You can’t say that about every novel.

Waclawiak looks at the fractures in a picture perfect Connecticut neighborhood by focusing on the community’s greatest fears: change and outsiders threatening what they have. Part of this threat comes from the fear of violence – real and imagined, and this violence runs a subtle thread through the whole narrative.

The thing I most appreciated in Waclawiak’s writing was her subtlety. So much is conveyed in what is left unsaid and in sly glances. The male gaze is everywhere and is both threatening, but also yearned for. The story reflects so many of the battles faced in American culture today: us vs. them (whoever they are), expressions of sexuality and need, economic disparities. They way in which all these themes are brought together is what makes The Invaders so compelling.

Who would like this book? If you like a good story that makes you examine the world in which we live, this is a good book for you. It portrays the country club lifestyle that was touted as the ideal for so long and turns it on its head. That white, middle class neighborhood is far more toxic than ever imagined.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.

In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

In The Unlikely Event by Judy BlumeJudy Blume writes a new novel for adults and you know I’m going to read it. The deal is sealed. I loved Blume as a kid and now that I’m older I admire her commitment to free speech, issues surrounding sexuality and feminism. Given all of that, I had high expectations for In The Unlikely Event. Continue reading

Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas

Let Me Explain You by Annie LiontasFirst off, the thing that attracted me to Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas was the title and the cover. I instantly had an idea about what it was going to be about: a Greek family tale with a strong, and perhaps quirky, patriarch. And my guess was pretty dead on. Continue reading

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

Pigeon English by Stephen KelmanPigeon English by Stephen Kelman is one of the books I’ve received as part of my monthly subscription to the Willoughby Book Club. They always send me the best books! But the reason I picked up Pigeon English now is because Kelman will be appearing at the Edinburgh International Books Festival this year. His new book, Man on Fire, looks amazing but isn’t out until August so I don’t know if I’ll get it read before seeing him. Continue reading

You Don’t Have to Live Like This by Benjamin Markovits

You Don't Have to Live Like This by Benjamin MarkovitsI requested You Don’t Have To Live Like This by Benjamin Markovits because it is a novel about the regeneration of Detroit. The whole idea of a previously industrial city being rejuvenated by artists and writers had always really appealed to me. This novel takes a harsher look at the gentrifying process and for that reason I found it intriguing. Continue reading

Bradstreet Gate by Robin Kirman

Bradstreet Gate by Robin KirmanI don’t know whether it’s the rubbish weather we’ve been having or celebration at the end of term, but I tore through Bradstreet Gate by Robin Kirman in less than 24 hours. To start, the story was right in my wheelhouse: beloved ¬†Harvard professor under suspicion for murdering a student. Second, comparisons to Tartt, Eugenides and Wolitzer sealed the deal (and fell short, but that is beside the point), and finally, conjecture that the story was based on actual occurrences at Yale. All that spells great summer (or rainy day) read. Continue reading

Kimjongilia by Victor Fox

Kimjongilia by Victor FoxI’m on a bit of a North Korea kick right now, so I grabbed Kimjongilia by Victor Fox when I saw it. The fact that many publishers felt it was too risky to publish this book after the North Korean Sony hack made it even more appealing. It purports to be a true story, though i’d put it in the ‘based on a true story’ category. Continue reading